eventDV Magazine

For more than a year now, I’ve taken eventDV magazine. It has been a good resource for me as I try to tie content and the complexities of desktop video production and online video streaming together. I don’t understand 75% of it, but a little water can seep into the even the densest of wood. eventDV

I understand that magazines like eventDV are advertising platforms for the big manufacturers: Sony, Panasonic, Grass Valley, et al. The readership is super targeted right into the checkout line. It’s great for advertisers in the enterprise video, CDN, production, encoding and streaming media spaces.

On the other hand, readers have to understand that an author’s product review probably isn’t going to trash the manufacturer who advertises in the magazine, provides. It’s not necessarily deliberate, but it would be dumb not to consider the source of the enterpriseís revenue when the editorial content is so super-niche.

The eventDV content is valuable as one ferrets out various tips and tricks that can be gleaned from the content. The endless pages of plugs, info-articles and advertising are part of the magazine, and readers have to suffer through it in order to get the benefit of the free content. It’s a fair trade.

But now eventDV is asking for subscriptions. The crash in the advertising industry has severely impacted this mom and pop magazine, and they’re asking for a measly $16 a year to renew. I sympathize with the crew at eventDV and hope they survive. But I think the model is wrong. I think people are done paying for both the content and being subjected to advertising. Advertisers are going to have to step-up and support their messaging platforms, because I don’t think the target consumer is going to much longer.

The magazine no doubt would argue that $16 doesn’t cover the cost of production. I’m sure that’s true. It proves the unsustainability of the model though – not necessarily a problem on the revenue side. Translation: The cost of producing the magazine isn’t worth the market it provides to advertisers – and targets can’t be expected to subsidize it.

By agreeing to be a willing advertising target, I’m giving-in to the advertising in exchange for the content. I don’t see the benefit in being both an advertising target and a paying customer.

Extend this idea to things like trade shows that charge at the gate, which I’ve never understood – even before I started thinking about media models. I ask the same question of cable TV, newspapers and magazines: Why do I pay for content with embedded advertising? Shouldn’t the cable companies be paying me to run the wire into my house? Shouldn’t direct mail companies be paying me to take their third class mail?

My thinking is that if the content were ad-free, I should have to pay. If not, the content should be free. I know this is a little “out there” in some ways, but if you start thinking about it – you might have a similar “ah hah” moment.

Facebook and YouTube are struggling with this. They are in the same quandary – providing a free content platform in exchange for our being exposed to advertising. But Facebook and Youtube are talking about a subscription-based model now. Believe it or not, they don’t make money even though they’re the biggest online media phenomenon going. But would I pay for both the platform and the advertising? I doubt it. The “free” genie is out of the bottle, and there’s no putting her back in. These disruptive businesses have created a monster that may just kill them too. Weird.

Don’t ask me how any of these businesses are going to make it in the long run. But I think the point is that they’re going to have to pick: Either provide a fully advertiser-supported marketing platform for free, or provide such compelling content advertising isn’t necessary.

The days of subscribers having to subsidize distribution costs for the media company and the production costs of the advertiser may be over. Magazines and newspapers are starting to sell front covers now – they’ve grown ad inventory and shrunk the news hole. Again, subscribers benefit from this how?

So in the end, the content either has to be spectacular, or the advertising platform has to be very large and targetable. And guess what? That leads us right back to a new version of the mainstream media model online. Nothing will have changed except the channel, and maybe the idea that people aren’t going to pay much longer for advertising-laden content since a new generation has been raised on the idea of “free.”

Coming up next – Google’s Phone Manager – talk about disruption!